Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes for birth at or after term

Title: Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes for births at or after term, by State/territory of birth and all Australia, 2007 to 2018.

This chart shows the proportion of babies with an Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes for births at or after term, by state/territory of birth, 2004 to 2018.  Data can be viewed for each state/territory of birth, and for all Australia. The proportion of babies with an Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes for births at or after term, for all Australia showed an increased from 0.9% in 2004 to 1.3% in 2018.

Clinical commentary

Apgar scores are clinical indicators of a baby’s condition shortly after birth. The score is based on five characteristics of the baby: skin colour, pulse, breathing, muscle tone and reflex irritability. Each characteristic is given between 0 and 2 points, with a total score between 0 and 10 points (AIHW 2020).

An Apgar score of 7 or more at 5 minutes after birth indicates the baby is adapting well to the environment, while a score of less than 7 indicates complications for the baby (AIHW 2020).

Apgar scores at 5 minutes of less than 7 are not specific to any condition and may reflect congenital anomaly, prematurity, perinatal infection, effects of drugs given to the mother for pain relief or anaesthesia, ineffective resuscitation or prolonged hypoxia before birth (Li et al. 2013).  Maternal factors such as increased maternal age, obesity, maternal morbidity, especially diabetes, and maternal smoking during pregnancy, may contribute to a baby being born with a low Apgar score (Kharkova et al. 2017; Straube et al. 2010; Zhu et al. 2015).

Indicator specifications and data

Excel source data tables are available from the Data tab.

For more information refer to Specifications and notes for analysis in the technical notes.